Tag Archives: poem

Urushoil: Watch Yourself


Watch yourself guys
near these leaves of three
along and off the trails we

stroll – the anointed
pretty little leaves

how wet and ready
to wipe fire
across your skin

look how the bees search buds
and how they search
for better buds

Animals aren’t affected by urushiol’
I tell my boy

he asks me why
the plant exists

I try not to answer
with some conclusion that some of nature
needs defence only against people

‘Perhaps there’s something special about them
we don’t know yet.’

What if… ‘Eddie Gilbert Selected’


     for the Australian xi

given a ticket of leave from the aboriginal camp

west of Brisbane

on a chaperoned train ride to Adelaide

instructed to

Bowl Fast as you can at England

there’s Jardine lying on the crease

                                                holding his head

Eddie’s boomerang wrist from a short run

Native Knocks-out England’s Captain Cold

 I reckon Eddie

 would have been first

by his side

to make sure he was alright

the next ball

a scorching yorker

England’s Bodyline Strategy in Shatters


Eddie hiding from headlines of himself

on the train back to Cherbourg


This is a piece I wrote earlier this year after viewing the work of Artist Ron Hurley at Brisbane’s GOMA exhibition.  The life and cricket career of Eddie Gilbert fascinates me. I hear that The Sunday Mail has run a story about Eddie Gilbert today. There is also a statue of Eddie in full flight at Alan Border field in Albion, Brisbane.

an election countdown

before Saturday:

twelve outgoing tides will suck broken matter out from the mangroves

a seem of coal in the bowen basin worth $keeping-there has never been polled and will not get to vote

the word ‘asylum’ will not get any sleep
the entire 147 hours

the leader of the First Nations party, Maurie, who doesn’t use a computer is contactable on his mobile or you could also be the 516th person to like the Facebook page.

314 displaced koalas will find they like the taste of smaller trees

the number of hairs on the heads of the major party leaders will be considered not a fair comparison

five million pencil ticks will think outside the box

please note: you may separate your thoughts using the multi-coloured commas provided

please also note: counting down is frownable

Afternoon Transformation


Shirt wriggled, hung

broad tailed, tie loose knotted,

sock ankled.


At lights hitting

the walk button that’d blow

up the mathematics block. Unkempt

doesn’t reflect on him

but fashions his scorn

for Miss forcing

x – 3 = fix


your uniform.

“Where is your hat?”

y + up yours

he wishes he  could say

louder.  Her eyes heard

it anyway.


Taking time in the mirror

to fix skate cap 12deg from centre, shorts

2/7ths below boxers.  A new


slouch on a deck

of forward momentum.


To The Avocado Who Swam The Good Fight


4000psi shuddering

skeletons.  A billion bees

drumming the rest

of life to silence.  Through mist, dank light

a cold room wall brought back

to bone.


4000psi shuddering

steel racking

stripped of pallets, flesh

of fruit and veggies now steaming

in a pile of January sun.


Another avocado trapped

above my head, the forgotten

dead hanging just below high tide.


While sleeping, the river crept

into Rocklea. Entering cucumber coldrooms

and banana gas chambers.  Waterproof Haas treading

warehouse swamp for days, keeping it’s

head up like an instinct. Sensing

rest in an elbow of steel racking.


Washing salad

on a loading dock, spread

across the street, scooped

by excavator.


4000psi shuddering

this hanger back to 4 deg

in a few days

to fill with new fruit.


“He’s no fisherman”


I must have been

about seven.

We would often

go fishing as a family.

This time uncle Dennis

came with us and said

to my folks

in his broad Bristolian accent,

He is no fisherman!”

My mum defended in her

diplomatic way.

I just stood and listened.


This piece isn’t about

the small man

my uncle Dennis must have been,

saying this to a

seven year old boy.


has had a voice


“You’re not good enough.”

from a teacher, parent or someone.

my question is…


Why would my memory




t h o s e   w o r d s

from 25 years ago?


Why, when my memory

has forgotten countless

better memories like

the scent of the air

between lips as I leaned

in for my first kiss?

Or the feeling of my feet first

standing on a surfboard,

skidding along a moving curve of ocean.


Why keep a photo

of uncle ‘I’m not good enough’

on the wall

of my memory?

Why play that scratchy sound recording

so crisply in my

adult ears?


It seems so stupid.




Piece of pain in my pocket

Tomorrow marks three years since Isaiah died.  It is true, time makes a difference.  It doesn’t heal, it becomes more familiar each bout in the ring.  We learn to live with the pain and carry on.  Written back in January 2008.


In my pocket is a piece of my heart.

It is a good place for it.

Close by to me

within reach.


This piece is broken from the rest.

Its weight changes

like a piece of wood

burdened with water, it sinks





Too heavy for my pocket


I pull it out

carefully, but the edges

are too sharp

to hold for long.


Not for my hands

the pain

cuts my eyes

and into my right.  Tears


splash concrete.

I place the piece

back in my pocket

and continue working.



Extending the Life of Outdoor Furniture


it hardly seems fair

this piece of outdoor

furniture demands

my attention on a day like today

the first sun

in two weeks

wind howling

to play with that kite

we’ve used once

my son jumping

to bounce on the trampoline with me

until our heads turn into electricity

but the gaping

grains of cypress whine louder than the wind


the skin on my hands would love to be bathed

in oil – to look and feel like last year

instead they’ll smell

like turps for the next two days

next time

I sit on this bench I expect

it to write me a better


than this one.


screensaver puddles

for Leah (waiting for paint to dry)



the rainforest

comes off the mountain

and tours

Brisbane’s suburbs

playing its music

bringing the earthy smell

of moist underforest

and clean decay


the unfamiliar band sit in trees

playing foreign chords

and we turn our music off

to listen

their sounds seems to call

the mountain weather

down off the

Border Ranges

through Beaudesert

across to the Bay


rain falls like a slow thought

rain falls through an invisible leafy canopy

drop by drop

unlike those handfuls

thrown down

in angry Summer storms


each drop has its own name

the terracotta tiled roofs shrug

without much comment

tin roofs gossip

exaggerating the heavier showers

giving each drop

its own microphone


a bed reading atmosphere

painters complain

construction sites stand

in yesterday’s footprints


clouds cuddle into isolated hills

Mt Cotton, Mt Gravatt, Enoggera Hill

awkward, not used to intimacy


all of Brisbane drinks for days

not in gulps

but lifting the schooner slowly between

telling old stories of fishing

in Moreton Bay


gum tree silhouettes

and bright grey sky

light up puddles on the road

making screen saver circles

never on a loop


self-indulgent grief

I’m never sure if I should post poems like this.  I wrote it Tuesday.  It was Isaiah’s birthday, he would have turned three.  I found myself thinking about MY loss and not really about him.  Then snapping out of it, I again realised how ridiculous the process of grief can be and where the mind wanders.  A psychologist told me that if the model of Adam and Eve in a perfect garden (all perfectly created) is our origin then we were never created for grief.  We weren’t given the proper capacity to handle loss very well.  Perhaps that is why it is so awkward and painfully emotional.  Scribbling the emotions down has certainly helped the process of grieving for me and I hope you don’t mind me sharing it.


self-indulgent grief

is a sticky film

the memory likes

to touch

feeling the tackiness

fingering the sorry feelings

wallowing in


hopeless sadness



to feel their tackiness again


like touching the sticky photo

of my brother’s engagement party

I’m standing to the side

an empty shell

still in shock

from the night before

wondering what I’m doing there

my Uncle’s voice plays in my head

“….you’re unbelievable

to be here”

but not coming

would be worse

and I play the tape again

to feel the emptiness


C.S Lewis

describes it:

a ‘bath of self-pity’

‘the loathsome sticky-sweet pleasure

of indulging it –

that disgusts me.’


and suddenly

you awaken

and notice your memory

fingering the



tearing your hand away…


“Happy Birthday Isaiah!”

“How are you little guy?

You are three today.

You would be running around

with your brothers

skinning knees

kicking footballs

riding a new tricycle

down a big grass hill


Have a great birthday

where you are,

skinning knees

kicking footballs

riding a new tricycle

down a big grass hill

we love you mate

Happy Birthday!”


misty market voices


The morning fog played at our feet

swirling softly, dulling voices

just like a mountain village street

Brisbane Markets shouting choices


“Bananas… Cav bananas here!”

but today his voice is swallowed

in padded walls of atmosphere

Low, heavy, carved out and hollowed


Then it lifted, it disappeared

Swiftly whisked by the waiting sun

like a silk table cloth is cleared

by the waiter’s hand on the run


The strains of change for every eye

if it paused, looking up to see

the vast blue wispy marbled sky

above the markets of Rocklea